Charlotte Khushi is a senior art director, Wunderman, creative director for the YCC and one of the creatives chosen to join Rare Access at D&AD. She has provided an insider’s view of what it’s like to be given the opportunity to build personal power in the creative industries.
by Charlotte Khushi
I entered the industry with bright eyes and big ideas, but it’s no secret that once you’re in, you’re likely to come across a few small minds and jaded views. That’s why I strive to be part of companies and be around individuals that are challenging the status quo. Most recently I had the honour of being selected for Rare Access – an amazing week-long experience sponsored by D&AD, Google and Sweetshop.
Rare Access isn’t a pity party for the underrepresented, it is an intense and invigorating experience reminding us that not only should our voices contribute to the industry but help shape its future.
So what does access to a week of talks, masterclasses, mentoring and networking give you?
Questions. A lot of questions.
Although I can’t give you all the answers (that would be cheating) I’ll leave you with some of the questions I was faced with. I know answering these honestly will help me progress and grow authentically, so no matter your level or your background, I invite you to do the same.
WHO ARE YOU DEPENDENT ON?
During the Rare Masterclass, Lucy Jameson, co-founder of Uncommon, asked us to look up the ranks of our organisation: Are you dependent on people less ambitious than you to make yours dreams come true? For me, this was one of the most impactful lessons of the week. I’ve learned that it’s brave to leave the roles and leadership that make you feel weak. There are many factors to your success, and the people above you are partly responsible, so look up.
Rare Access gave me the opportunity to speak to others in a safe space. This environment meant we could all learn, support and guide each other through problems we’ve encountered throughout our careers. Hearing this advice made me realise I have some amazing support networks: I have my peeps at Wunderman and the Young Creative Council but I also have connections to Creative Equals and The Other Box. Whether it’s in your place of work or in an online community, this is something we should all have in our day to day lives. So seek out your squad.
Trans activist and author, Charlie Craggs, reminded us all that the word ally should be a verb. We should be standing up for injustice and championing minority communities, otherwise it’s the same as saying you’re funny but never telling a joke. This is something I’m sure we’re all guilty of, so after getting this advice I vow to say more and do more. Can you make the same vow?
DO YOU HATE THE PLANET?
For me, Naresh Ramchandani served up one of the most powerful talks of the whole festival, Nice ad, shame about the planet. We should reflect on the impact our work has on humanity and climate change, so take a look at your client list and your projects – what changes could be made for the better?
WHEN WERE YOU AT YOUR BEST (OR WORST)?
Rare co-founder, Stefanie DiGianvincenzo, took us through her career in a refreshingly honest fashion. She factored in her environment and personal treatment at different roles and how those attributed to her success. Do you have autonomy or pressure? Do you freedom or is there distrust? I know I’ve felt both extremes in my career, and I know which extreme equalled success. What kind of leader are you, is your approach going to foster the best or the worst?
WHAT ARE YOU VALUES?
In an exercise, Nadya Powell, co-founder of Utopia, asked us to search for our inner mission and values. It’s easy to get caught up and often lost in this homogenous industry, but your actions, creativity and purpose are yours, live them. Here are the 5 values I discovered in myself, for some #inspo – Intuitive, Pioneer, Pride, Creative, Positive. So, what are your values?
Rare Access has reminded me of the importance of questioning. Not just your industry, not just your projects, but yourself. We shouldn’t accept or settle, and we definitely shouldn’t underestimate the importance of our industry and the power it has to influence the future. Question your choices and make them count.